How to Electronically Sign Documents
Fed up of sending contracts in the post for sign off? Tired of printing out, signing and then scanning your documents back in, all for one approval? Sign-off processes can be lengthy. Especially when you’re sat waiting for the postman. But with electronic signatures, you can cut out the middle man and dramatically speed up your transactions.
What Is an Electronic Signature?
An electronic signature, or eSignature, is a legal form of consent or approval for electronic documents, which can replace handwritten signatures in practically every sign off process. That way, you can speed up transactions, ensure security and reduce your paper consumption.
How to Create an Electronic Signature
There are many ways that you can create electronic signatures to apply to your documents. You could:
- Draw it freehand with a stylus or your finger.
- You could upload a digital image of your handwritten signature to overlay your documents.
- Draw the signature with your keyboard/computer mouse.
- Type and auto-generate your eSignature, then choose a font that best matches your handwriting.
How to Electronically Sign Documents with Virtual Cabinet
With Virtual Cabinet, learning how to electronically sign documents is easy. There’s no need for scanners, and you can skip trying to perfectly emulate your handwriting with your cursor (not so easy!). Here’s how to create an electronic signature in Virtual Cabinet, in just a few easy steps:
- When you are sent a file for signature, open the notification link and the document viewer.
- At the top of the document, there is a sign button.
- Click the button and a screen will appear, displaying information about the signature. If permitted by the sender, there will also be an area to add an optional message, e.g. “Thanks, please go ahead.”
- To sign the document, simply click “sign” – it’s that easy!
You’ll also receive the option to download a copy of the signed document to your device if you need to. Sure, it's simple, but is it worth the virtual paper it's written on?
Are Electronic Signatures Legally Binding?
The all-important question: are electronic signatures legally binding? Most people assume that, because it’s not a handwritten copy, an electronic signature won’t hold up. But since the introduction of the Electronic Communications Act 2000, electronic signatures have been deemed as legally binding, so you can use them for all business transactions and operations. Worried about tampering? At Virtual Cabinet, any documents that have been signed electronically can be checked for any such activity, simply by uploading it to our Verify Signed Document checker – just in case.
The Benefits of Signing Documents Electronically
Now you know how to electronically sign documents, it’s time to find out why you should. Other than being legally binding, electronic signatures come with a whole host of benefits for you and your business:
- Speed: The time it takes to request a signature and receive the final copy is significantly reduced when you sign documents electronically – say goodbye to the postman and hello to faster send and approval times.
- Security: All of your documents are sent and stored securely – eSignatures are difficult to tamper with and you can provide access to authorised personnel only.
- Audit: See when documents have been viewed, auditing the communication between you and your customers.
- Paper reduction: Reduce your paper consumption by eliminating the need for pen and paper, as well as the need to physically file and retrieve paper copies.
- Economic savings: By cutting out the need for physical copies, you save on delivery, paper, toner, printer costs and more – meaning that you have the freedom to send an unlimited amount of documents for signature.
Essentially, learning how to electronically sign documents is another step towards a streamlined business and higher productivity levels. Interested in signing documents electronically? To find out more about how to use and create electronic signatures with Virtual Cabinet, book a free demo with one of our experts. You’ll receive advice from an industry specialist, helping you optimise your business and develop a document management storage system that works for you and your business.